To create such a beam, Verbeeck and his colleagues used platinum foil bearing a specific pattern of holes. This 'mask' partially blocks a beam of electrons shone at it, though those that get through corkscrew to form a vortex between 1 and 100 nanometres in diameter.
By redesigning the mask, the vortex could be shrunk further, in theory down to the size of an atom. The researchers hope they can one day use it to trap individual atoms or molecules inside the beam and move them around."
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